Catalogue


Fathers and sons in Athens [electronic resource] : ideology and society in the era of the Peloponnesian War /
Barry S. Strauss.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1993.
description
xv, 283 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0691033846 :
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1993.
isbn
0691033846 :
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7917802
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-275) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Barry S. Strauss is Director of the Peace Studies Program and Professor of History and Classics at Cornell University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-07:
Strauss offers a valuable but flawed account of the ideology of father-son relations and youth in Athens. His study of the legal and social norms of father-son relations and of the stresses that could build up between them in a culture that valued highly male independence and aggressiveness is convincing. Strauss reveals the close connection between household and polls, and between male citizens and their families, particularly their sons, and shatters the false portrait of the strict separation of male/female and public/private spheres. He also explores how widely Athenians used family-based symbols in political discourse. Strauss has written the best account of these issues in print. His study of the Athenian generation gap during the Peloponnesian War is not so successful. Strauss does not do a systematic historical and literary analysis but considers only the works supporting his thesis, and his argument focuses far too much on Alcibiades. His adoption of the methodology of social drama theory also seems questionable; although cultural myths do influence human actions, they do not play the deterministic role that Strauss asserts. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. J. M. Williams; SUNY College at Geneseo
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Particularly noteworthy is Strauss's lucid demonstration of how the rhetoric of familial breakdown informed political discourse in the wake of the disastrous Athenian defeat in Sicily. . . . One of the most original and interesting works on classical Athens to appear in years."-- Stanley M. Burstein, The Historian
"The best study in print of father-son relations in Athens."-- James M. Williams, History: Reviews of New Books
"This work is exciting and important not only for its thesis but for the new and often exhilarating way in which we see language and history and texts combined and interpreted."-- Thomas M. Falkner, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1994
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Father-son conflict was for the Athenians a topic of widespread interest that touched the core of both family and political life, particularly during times of social upheaval. Barry Strauss explores the tensions experienced by a society that cherished both youthful independence and paternal authority. He examines father-son relationships within the Athenian family and the way these relations were presented in a wide variety of political and literary texts. In emphasizing the blurring of boundaries between family and state, or private and public, in Athens, Strauss encourages us to reflect anew on the distinction between these concepts and on the difficulties of putting that distinction into practice today. This work is exciting and important not only for its thesis but for the new and often exhilarating way in which we see language and history and texts combined and interpreted. Thomas M. Falkner, Bryn Mawr Classical Review Particularly noteworthy is Strauss's lucid demonstration of how the rhetoric of familial breakdown informed political discourse in the wake of the disastrous Athenian defeat in Sicily.... One of the most original and interesting works on classical Athens to appear in years. Stanley M. Burstein, The Historian The best study in print of father-son relations in Athens. James M. Williams, History: Reviews of New Books
Main Description
As history's first democracy, classical Athens invited political discourse. The Athenians, however could not completely separate the politicals from the private sphere; indeed father-son conflict, from patricide to murdering one's son, was a major public as well as a private theme. In a fascinating historical reappraisal, the author explores the consequences, for Athens and us, of the powerful influence of familial ideology on politics.
Main Description
Father-son conflict was for the Athenians a topic of widespread interest that touched the core of both family and political life, particularly during times of social upheaval. In this vivid account of the intermingling of politics and the private sphere in classical Athens, Barry Strauss explores the tensions experienced by a society that cherished both youthful independence and paternal authority. He examines father-son relations within the Athenian family and the way these relations were represented in a wide variety of political and literary texts. His inquiry reveals that representations of patricide, father beating, and son murdering did not necessarily coincide with actual instances but rather served as metaphors for intergenerational tensions fueled by democracy, the sophists, and the Peloponnesian War. Strauss points out that major Athenian accounts of father-son conflict--such as the myth of the Athenian national hero, Theseus, and the plays of Euripides and Aristophanes--were either produced or enthusiastically revived during the war. He traces the relation between the use of familial metaphors in these accounts and fluctuations in Athenian wartime ideology: as the fortunes of Athens shifted, citizens went from confidence in their elder statesman Pericles to enthusiasm over a new generation of young politicians led by Pericles' ward Alcibiades, and back to an insistence on what Athenians called the "paternal" rule of older leaders. In emphasizing the blurring of boundaries between family and state, or private and public, in Athens, Strauss encourages us to reflect anew on the distinction between these concepts and on the difficulties of putting that distinction into practice today.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction: Solidarity or Conflict?
Intellectual Paternity, Appendix A: Patrios and Pater
Solidarity: Proud Fathers Obedient Sons
Conflict: The Sons of Theseus
The Hour of the Son, ca. 450-415 B.C.
The Return of the Father, 413-399 B.C.
Conclusion
Bibliography
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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